'Holy Rover' memoir explores sacred sites

Lori Erickson is a seeker.

She found a way to meld her inner spiritual quest with journeys across the globe.

Over three decades, she has been transformed by visits to holy sites ranging from Machu Piccu in Peru and the famous healing shrine at Lourdes, France, to Tibetan retreats in the U.S. heartland and the sacred Lakota site, Bear Butte, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Erickson’s brand of travel is called pilgrimage, which she defines as “going to a place that changes your heart.”

In her new book, “Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles and God,” Erickson — my longtime friend and fellow travel writer — details her spiritual wanderings that began in Iowa as a Lutheran farmer’s daughter.

Along the way, she explored a crazy-quilt sampler of religions, becoming a Wiccan, a Buddhist and a Unitarian Universalist, as well as an admirer of Native American traditions, before settling in as an ordained Episcopal deacon.

Conversational, engaging and replete with wry humor, Erickson’s memoir offers readers a front-row seat to her encounters with spiritual leaders and enlightening visits to sacred sites in destinations as varied as Iceland, Egypt, Germany, Jerusalem and even Thoreau’s famed Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

She learned that sometimes you don’t realize your travel was transformative until you’re comfortably settled back home.

‘Holy Rover’ is a voyage of discovery on many levels. Perhaps it will inspire you to seek, too.

Published by Fortress Press, the book features images of holy sites, including several by Erickson’s photographer-husband, Bob Sessions. It’s available in hardcover ($24.99), audio and e-book formats.

Erickson has been discussing her spiritual quest to packed houses at book-signing events around Iowa and Chicago. I hope her journey brings her to Detroit soon!

Check out her Holy Rover blog at


Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and